As many readers will already know, I began the bad rare challenge as the last article in my first run of A Deck a Day. The bad rare challenge is simple. I pull a bad rare out of my “low value rare” box in order to build a deck. I cannot refuse any rare. The idea of bad rare deck building appealed to me so much that today I’m writing a follow-up article for it.
So, how could I pass by doing at least one bad rare challenge this time? Of course I couldn’t. I find that the bad rare challenge really stretches my deckbuilding skills, so it is valuable as both a deck building exercise as well as unearthing a nice deck.
I am about to reach into the box and pull out a card unseen. Today’s bad rare is…..
Flooded Shoreline has a couple of things going for it. It has recurring bounce, which is nice. It is both cheap to play and use. Umm…that’s about it.
In order to make this card work, I think that I need something that will let me play lands quickly. However, Exploration appears a bit too slow and Fastbond makes one take way too much damage. What am I looking for?
4 Flooded Shoreline
4 Basking Rootwalla
4 Arrogant Wurm
2 Null Broach
3 Grafted Skullcap
2 Argothian Wurm
The key to opening the treasure of Flooded Shoreline is Manabond. Manabond allows you to play as many lands as you have, with two disadvantages – you can only play them during your discard step, and you have to discard the rest of your hand. The lands come into play untapped and ready to be used.
In order to fully abuse Manabond, you’ll want to use Flooded Shoreline as many times as possible on your turn, then slap all of the lands into play during your discard step and repeat during your opponent’s turn.
I decided to really use the Manabond, so I absolutely had to play the Ovinomancer. The normal disadvantage of returning three lands to your hand is now neutered significantly with a Manabond out. This makes Ovinomancer much more reliable and strong. Who isn’t a fan of turning mean nasties into sheep? Akroma is now a sheep, thank you very much.
I also included two madness creatures from green for the deck. You can madness them into play whenever you activate Manabond’s ability. You can use the lands played with Manabond to pay the madness cost on the Arrogant Wurm. You can’t play a spell or effect during the resolution of Manabond. Therefore you cannot play your lands, then try to play a spell before you are forced to discard your hand. Since madness triggers off the discard, however, you can use the lands played. There are other cards that the madness creatures will work with, as we’ll talk about in a bit.
Continuing the theme of bouncing lands for abilities, Gush is included as one of the card drawing spells in the deck. You can easily Gush, play any spells that you draw, then Manabond any lands you drew plus the two that you bounced back into play at the end of turn.
I also included a full set of Foil. Anytime you need to Counterspell, and you do not have the mana, you can use Flooded Shoreline or Gush to help out and give you the cards you need to play its alternate casting cost. You can use Foil to play a madness creature or force through a critical spell, like a Null Broach in the control matchup. Note that you will be regularly discarding Foils to Grafted Skullcaps and Manabonds, but that is perfectly fine.
I tossed in a full set of Grafted Skullcaps. Since we were planning on discarding our hand at the end of turn anyway, I didn’t see any reason not to get an additional benefit. If both Manabond and Grafted Skullcap are out simultaneously, you can stack them so that you use the Manabond’s ability first, to play all of your lands, then discard to the Manabond and Skullcap.
Use of the Grafted Skullcap should be with some care. If you have yet to establish board dominance, you may want to seriously think about playing the Skullcap. However, it is the engine that makes your deck fly at a quick and smooth pace. You can also play madness creatures with it.
Null Broach is there as an emergency counterspell effect that you do not need to hold in your hand. Against control, having access to a recurring uncounterable counterspell is a very powerful play. Note that you can play madness creatures with it, so feel free to Null Broach a minor spell in order to madness out a Basking Rootwalla.
Up until now, we’ve talked about a lot of tricks, but the only winning conditions shown are the two madness creatures. I also wanted another winning condition, so I thought for a bit. I ultimately decided on Argothian Wurm for several reasons. Firstly, if your opponent chooses to sacrifice a land, then your Wurm goes on top of your library. Normally, this is a disadvantage, but here, it means that you are not forced to discard it to the Skullcap, Manabond or Null Broach activation. In essence, the Wurm hides itself.
Another thing I like about the Wurm is the tempo advantage that can result from its use. While you are Mana Boy (with crime fighting action!), your opponent’s mana development is stymied. Eventually, the Wurm comes out, and by then, you have really taken a bite out of your opponent’s manabase. On the other hand, your opponent may just let it resolve, in which case you played a 6/6 trampler for just four mana.
I tossed in a single Wonder. None of the creatures involved have flying, so I liked the addition of a Wonder to the deck in order to add a bit of evasion to your winning conditions.
One of the cards that I wanted to add was Genesis. I may still do so if I can find. A single copy would not only give you a 4/4 creature to attack and block with, but would also give you a recursive engine for the few creatures that you have.
Other cards I considered for the deck include Ensnaring Bridge, Black Vise or similar effects, Horn of Greed, Forbid, Circular Logic, Cursed Scroll, and Fool’s Tome. You might find any of these to be solid additions.
This appears to be a fun deck. Feel encouraged to play it, and tell me how it goes.